CA Shifts Distribution Model

The revised program changes and enforces how CA goes to market with both its commercial and enterprise product lines, said Gary Quinn, executive vice president for partner advocacy at CA, Islandia, N.Y.

The plan calls for a reassessment of CA's current partners in order to categorize them into the new program's three-tier design. At the top tier, ESP partners are given exclusive access to enterprise customers with 1,000 or more employees. CA's midmarket customers with between 100 and 999 employees are catered to by ESPs and CA channel partners. Customers with fewer than 99 employees are served by less formal outlets such as CA's Web storefront, telesales and other resellers, said Daniel Schwartz, vice president of partner program marketing at CA.

Under this model, ESP partners fulfill CA orders through Arrow/MOCA and two recently added distributors, Access Distribution and Avnet Partner Solutions. Through these three distributors, ESP partners can buy both CA's enterprise products such as Unicenter and CA's commercial products such as its eTrust security line, said Quinn.

Non-ESP partners selling into the midmarket will be directed to purchase CA's commercial products from distributors Tech Data, Ingram Micro and Synnex, Quinn said.

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Beginning April 2, CA channel partners that have been buying CA's commercial products from Arrow/MOCA will no longer be able to do so under the rules of the new program, Quinn said.

The April 2 grace period was not part of the original ESP plan. Quinn and Kevin Powell, vice president of enterprise software at Arrow/MOCA, Melville, N.Y., said resellers that had existing relationships with the company to sell CA's commercial products had been contacting CA and Arrow/MOCA, concerned they would not be able to fulfill orders for CA's commercial products after the official ESP program launch date of Jan. 18.

Faced with these complaints, CA issued the following statement Wednesday: "We have notified our VADs [value-added distributors] of the following changes. Any non-ESP partner can source any CA product from a VAD--Access, Arrow and Avnet--through April 1, 2005. Effective April 2, 2005, non-ESPs will source CA products through open distribution, while ESPs will source CA products from the VADs."

What CA hopes to achieve under the guidelines of the refreshed ESP program is a model that clearly defines CA's reseller channel according to VAR expertise, while slowly and strategically increasing the head count of both CA's top- and midtier resellers, Quinn said.

"This is the true test for CA to work the channel with multiple partner segments," Quinn said.

Also part of the new program is a field partner advocacy structure, which CA quietly set in place in August. This structure looks to leverage the power of 10 field managers in each of seven geographical regions to resolve channel conflicts and other issues such as the delegation of professional services at the field level, Quinn said.

ESPs will have a new deal-registration program that pays 10 percent of what CA would make on a deal if it is not closed by a registered partner, a rebate program that returns as much as 11 percent of sales per quarter and a program that allows ESP partners to essentially direct CA's Tampa, Fla.-based telesales staff to follow up on leads on their behalf. CA is also providing incentives to motivate CA's direct-sales team to engage with reseller partners, Schwartz said.

The ESP program comes together in time to greet the arrival of a new version of Unicenter, version r11, which is expected later this year. A midmarket version of Unicenter is also set to arrive later this year. When it does, the exact details of the CA's midtier programs will also be made public, Quinn said.

P.J. Bulger, vice president of 3H Technology, Vienna, Va., said of the new program: "CA is still controlling the pricing through the channel, but trying to align themselves closer to the business partners and working to find a solution through the partner. In the past they'd take the license revenue, but the products were not being utilized effectively, so the customer was not happy."

Norm Shockley, president and CEO of Adeara, a VAR in Sunnyvale, Calif., said he saw the logic in CA's segmenting its products according to distributor prowess. After all, he said it's better to move the volume products through the Tech Datas of the world and let Arrow/MOCA, Avnet and GE Access handle the enterprise line. Shockley said he also understood how VARs with dedicated distribution relationships with one of CA's distributors would be scrambling to establish backup distributors to ensure all CA orders, commercial and enterprise, can be filled.

As for eventually losing the revenue generated by sales of CA's commercial products, Arrow's Powell said in a statement: "As a VAD, our focus is on supporting enterprise solutions, so this segmentation will have minimal financial impact."